One of your writers floated the idea that Medicaid expansion is responsible for the opioid epidemic. I disagree.

Medicaid provides health and life saving benefits to those who are unable to help themselves or their children. Like any system that is private or government funded there are faults but the majority of patients are genuinely in need. There are too many deaths caused by overdoses — the papers are full of them — but the ones on the news are usually celebrities, and that's why they are reported. We identify with the names and perversely respond to one death of someone famous more than to 10 victims below the poverty line.

Those with money can always find someone to provide what they want. People like Prince use multiple doctors and somehow avoid national registries. If the average person recovering from surgery or injury needs meds one day earlier than his/her renewal date, it's nearly impossible to obtain them. Pharmacies have become quite strict — as well they should.

It seems like those who blame Medicaid are attacking the poor and minorities for not having the power to moderate doses. Those who don't qualify for a legal prescription buy what they want on the street, and while I don't doubt that some doctors prescribe more opioids than they should, even they are becoming reluctant as today there is more oversight.

In fact, it's become almost impossible to get relief from chronic or acute pain. I personally feel that's an over-reaction to the negatives. A short-term treatment rarely develops into addiction. Doctors are not sadists, but in a way, their hands are tied, and their dedication varies. Of course, there is a minority who endlessly renew painkillers for favored patients, and money changes hands. This doesn't apply to Medicaid patients; there is no benefit in doing so.

We have a governor who understands that health care is a priority. It's not Medicaid that should be blamed as much as those wealthy enough to circumvent the system and its built-in safeguards. If someone believes that there are too many Medicaid patients needing relief, then they should explore the painful results of poor or nonexistent health care that create major problems.

Dan Fagan: One possible cause to the opioid epidemic? A large growth in Medicaid-funded prescriptions

Some citizens seem to feel that funding health services denies them control. There is an unpleasant human need to play one-up-manship. Just be glad that you don't need help. That alone should provide plenty of satisfaction.

Laura Barnes

garden consultant

New Orleans